National treasures

Dame Shirley Bassey

Born in Tiger Bay in Cardiff to a Nigerian father and English mother, Bassey recorded three of the most iconic James Bond title songs: Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and Moonraker (1979).

Now in her mid-80s, she has had albums in the UK charts in seven consecutive decades. All hail Queen Shirl!

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Dame Shirley Bassey

Sir Anthony Hopkins

Hopkins’ portrayal of serial killer Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs won him his first Oscar in 1992; his second Oscar came at the age of 83 for his performance in The Father. Fellow actors Richard Burton and Michael Sheen are also from his home town of Port Talbot.

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Sir Anthony Hopkins

Catherine Zeta-Jones

The Swansea-born actress won an Oscar in 2003 for her performance in the musical Chicago, and a Tony in 2010 for her Broadway performance of A Little Night Music. She’s one half of a Hollywood power-duo with husband Michael Douglas. ‘Zeta’, by the way, was the name of a ship that her great-grandfather sailed on.

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Catherine Zeta-Jones

Gareth Bale

He became the world’s most expensive footballer when he signed for Real Madrid in 2013, but Bale has had a turbulent relationship with the Spanish giant. Thankfully, he keeps scoring goals for the Wales national team, helping us to qualify for successive UEFA Euro Championships.

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Gareth Bale

Sir Tom Jones OBE

‘Jones the Voice’ released his 41st studio album, Surrounded by Time, at the age of 81. The son of a Pontypridd coal miner, Jones first hit the charts in 1965 with It’s Not Unusual, and has explored multiple musical genres from R&B to gospel. A musical legend, Tom Jones has sold over 100 million records worldwide and is now a judge on the TV show, The Voice.

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Sir Tom Jones OBE

Welsh actors

Taron Edgerton. Golden Globe winner Taron (his name means 'thunder' in Welsh) hails from sunny Aberystwyth, and he loves returning home for walks on the beach when he's being Elton John in Rocketman (2019), or Johnny the gorilla in the Sing franchise (2021).

Ruth Jones MBE. Bridgend-born Ruth Jones is best known as co-creator and co-star of the much-loved BBC sitcom Gavin and Stacey. Since then she's been nominated for and won countless awards for her comedic performances and writing, and was appointed an MBE in 2014 for services to entertainment.

Michael Sheen. Another proud Port Talbot actor, Michael Sheen has been gracing stage and screen with his talents for many years. Key silver screen roles include Frost/Nixon (2008) and The Queen (2006).

Luke Evans. Welsh actor and singer Luke Evans is probably best known as Gaston from Disney's live action adaption of Beauty and the Beast (2017), but he's also starred in the Hobbit film franchise (2012-14), the Fast & Furious franchise (2013-17) and The Girl on the Train (2016).

Richard Burton CBE (1925-84). Another of Port Talbot's acting alumni, the multi-award winning stage and screen actor made headlines multiple times during his very public relationship with his second wife, Elizabeth Taylor. Although he started playing classics on the stage, the actor also made some silver screen classics, like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984).

Welsh sportspeople

Geraint Thomas MBE, cycling. The first Welshman to win the Tour De France (2018) and a two-time gold medalist, he rides for Team Sky, Wales and Great Britain.

Ian Rush MBE, football. The all-time leading goal scorer for Liverpool Football Club, having scored a total of 346 goals in all competitions during his two spells.

Lynn 'the Leap' Davies CBE, long jump. Gold medallist in the 1964 Summer Olympics, the only Welsh athlete to have won gold in an individual Olympic track and field event.

Gareth Edwards CBE, rugby. The first Welsh player to reach 50 caps for Wales, he was part of three Grand Slam wins for Wales by the time he reached the age of 30.

Shane Williams MBE, rugby. The record Rugby Union try scorer for Wales and one of the world's leading Rugby Union test try scorers of all time.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, DL, wheelchair track. One of the world’s most successful Paralympians, winning 16 Paralympic medals between 1988 and 2004.

Colin Jackson CBE, 100m hurdles. Once world record holder for 13 years, he has been the world champion, European champion and Commonwealth champion.

Joe Calzaghe CBE, boxing. Now retired, Calzaghe is widely regarded as the best British boxer of all time, once undefeated after 46 professional fights and over 10 years as World Champion.

Ian Woosnam OBE, golf. ​Won more professional golf tournaments than any other British golfer, including over 45 worldwide tournament victories.

Mark Williams MBE, snooker. Three-time World Championship winner and winner of the Triple Crown of snooker trophies for 2002-03.

David Roberts CBE, swimming. 11-time Paralympic gold medallist considered one of Great Britain's most successful Paralympians ever.

Jade Jones MBE, taekwondo. Two-time Olympic gold medalist (2012, 2018).

Welsh musicians and bands

Bonnie Tyler. A husky-voiced female singer who has had global number one records over three different decades. 'It's a Heartache', 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' and 'Holding Out for a Hero' are some of the best-selling songs in chart history and have become karaoke classics.

Bryn Terfel. A respected bass-baritone opera singer who has sung in national concert halls across Europe and America. He is best known for his performances as Figaro, Don Giovanni and Sweeney Todd.

Catatonia. A pop-rock band who produced hits including 'Mulder and Scully' and ‘Road Rage’. The lead singer Cerys Matthews now has a successful solo career.

Charlotte Church. A soprano and pop singer who sold over 10 million records worldwide in the early 2000s. She now focuses on presenting documentaries and political issues.

Duffy. A blues-pop singer whose single ‘Mercy’ and album ‘Rockferry’ went to number one across the world in 2008 and won three Brit awards in 2009.

Ivor Novello (1893-1951). One of the most popular entertainers of the 20th century in the UK, talented in acting, songwriting and singing. The Ivor Novello Awards for outstanding international music writers were established in 1955 in his memory.

Katherine Jenkins. Wales' best-known opera singer, the mezzo soprano has had over 10 globally popular albums. She came second in the American show, 'Dancing with the Stars'.

Manic Street Preachers. Wales' biggest alternative rock band of their time, gaining awards and number one singles across the globe. They still tour and release new music, the most recent of which was in 2018 – their 13th album.

Stereophonics. Fronted by gravelly-voiced Kelly Jones, this rock band have had number one singles around the world, including 'Dakota', 'Handbags and Gladrags' and 'Maybe Tomorrow'.

Welsh designers and artists

Laura Ashley (1925 – 1985). A fashion designer from Merthyr Tydfil, who had a love of patterns and simple elegance. She set up a home furnishing and clothing brand that still has shops around the globe.

Julien Macdonald OBE. A Cyfarthfa-born fashion designer who runs his own glamour labels and has worked for Chanel and Givenchy. He is also a host of the TV show Britain’s Next Top Model.

David Emanuel. A designer of sets, costumes and outfits for famous faces including Ivana Trump, Madonna and Dame Elizabeth Taylor. His most famous work is the wedding dress of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Ross Lovegrove. An award-winning architect, industrial designer and artist who creates organic minimalist designs using cutting edge technology. His work has been exhibited in New York, Paris, Japan, London and beyond.

Sir John ‘Kyffin’ Williams (1918 – 2006). One of the defining artists of the 20th century, whose rural paintings were inspired by Welsh landscapes.

Richard Wilson (1714 – 1782). The first notable British artist to focus on landscape paintings and a founding member of the Royal Academy.

John Gibson RA (1790 – 1866). A Neoclassical sculptor of monumental and portrait pieces who was one of the most successful British sculptors of his generation.

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